Here's a look at a new exhibit GHS just completed installing recently
at Lyndhurst National Trust Historic Site, in Tarrytown, New York.
In collaboration with the new and fantastic director, the furniture was selected, and the
exhibition was designed and produced by Geoff Howell Studio, which built the
walls, the risers, installed all of the contents of the show, and lit them, all
in the old Carriage House on the property. Geoff also designed and produced a gothic arch based on the architecture of
the house, which is the surround for the signage at the entrance to the exhibit.
|Arch custom made with layered mdf|
The exhibition will be there for your viewing pleasure all summer, and is just
the tip of the iceberg of extraordinary design overload.In
conjunction with the magnificent mansion and grounds, freshly refined
and recharged, it is well worth the trip!
The exhibit features furniture and other pieces that are original to
the house from the mid 19th century in the Rococo Revival style, all in rosewood
and ebony, (one signed by J. Meeks, a notable New York furniture
maker), and then again in the 1870's in the Renaissance Revival style preferred by
then owner uber rich financier Jay Gould. ( there is a black and white period photograph of
the room included below)
Most notable are the Herter Brothers pieces, (some in salmon colored
upholstery, a table with elaborate inlay work, small lacquered and gilt
chairs, mirror, easel, etc ) the Herter Bros. were considered among the
very best interior and furniture designers of their time (one large matching piece of this
suite is on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art). They were the designers of many important
interiors of the day, including the Vanderbilt's opulent over-the-top Fifth Avenue home, and work at the White House.
Also of note are the stained glass windows, attributed to another 19th
century design star, John La Farge, and a large landscape by Courbet. Included from the house are some fine old paris porcelain vases, a very
delicate bronze statue, some marble sculptures, a large persian carpet,
and some later Aesthetic Movement japanese-inspired Herter Brothers
pieces. it was quite an honor to work with such amazing objects!
|The Herter Brothers suite, including the settee, four side chairs, two arm chairs, and the magnificent center table. Shown above the settee is a japonesque rosewood framed mirror, used over the mantle in the parlor, along with some of the old paris porcelain vases from the collection. (old paris is a generic term for all of the finest french porcelain manufacturers that were centered around Paris, which eventually became Limoges, among others-they were largely unsigned from the early to mid 19th century)|
|The Herter suite, and the large Courbet landscape hanging on the wall to the left.|
|detail of table top inlay|
|A delicate gilt and inlaid Herter side chair.|
of the five original stained glass windows, part of the Herter Brothers
interior design scheme for Jay Gould, and attributed to John LaFarge.
In the foreground is a pair of Aesthetic Movement inspired black
lacquered chairs, also made by Herter.|
|A period photograph of the Merritt Parlor showing the furniture on exhibit, in its original arrangement.|
|The Rococo Revival Merritt suite from the 1850's, all made of rosewood solids and veneers.|
|Detail of the marble topped rosewood Merritt center table|
|The Benzoni sculpture of Cupid and Psyche purchased by the Merritt's around 1851, at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London. The other two sculptures are from the same period.|
|Ebony table to the left, the signed Meeks piece in the middle, marble topped
rosewood music cabinet, bronze, all purchased by the Merritts.|
|Close-up of the detail in the solid ebony side table.|
|Set of four rosewood side chairs from the Merritt Parlor.|